To most of us, January may be a kind of a dead zone – the dreariest, coldest and nastiest month.
The holidays are over, the kids are back in school, you feel as if you’re getting a cold, and the car barely starts in the morning. Need a new car? Too bad – you’re broke. Try to remember last September, and you can’t – any more than you can imagine a new spring (tentatively scheduled for April.)
But for journalists, it’s time of hope.
It’s contest time! Yup, you may be stuck in a dying industry in the depth of winter, but at least you can enter a journalism contest, and maybe even get an award or two.
State and regional contests, such as those sponsored by the Colorado Press Association and the Society of Professional Journalists feature a dozen or more categories and scores of awards for different circulation classes. In practice, it’s kind of like kindergarten. Work hard; go to class; pay attention to your teacher (i.e. editor) and you’ll get a good conduct ribbon.
The awards are given out at annual banquets, where the little guys from papers such as CSBJ get to hang out with the big dogs from the Denver Post or the Deseret News, trade gossip, flirt and hopefully pick up an award or two. It costs a few bucks to enter, but the publisher obligingly picks up all the costs.
For us at CSBJ, though, the best awards are those given out by our parent company, Dolan Media, which sponsors an annual intracompany competition among the company’s 30-plus publications. The award certificates are particularly nice – and, more importantly, the winners get a nice chunk of cold, hard cash!
There are, of course, other more prestigious awards out there – but I think we’ll just leave ‘em alone.
We could, for example, respond to this invitation.
“Dear Media Colleague,
On behalf of UCLA Anderson School of Management and the G. and R. Loeb Foundation, I would like to invite you to participate in the 2010 Loeb Awards call for entries. The Loeb Awards are the most prestigious honor in business journalism. Our mission is to recognizing writers, editors and producers who make significant contributions to the understanding of business, finance and the economy for both the private investor and the general public.”
Previous award winners have all come from big media – the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the L.A. Times, and the like. No surprise there – the “distinguished panel of judges” who will evaluate entries are senior editors at the WSJ, at Bloomberg, the NYT and peer pubs. And just to make sure that no-hopers from pipsqueak local pubs should keep their distance, each entry will set you back $100. Now that’ll keep the riff-raff out – it’s bottle service only at the Loeb Awards!
And, of course, there’s the highest mountain of all – the Pulitzer Prize. Win it, and it’ll identify you for the rest of your life – your obit will lead with “Pulitzer Prize winner…”
Every year, a small market paper manages to snag a Pulitzer – and this might just be the year that Gazette reporter Dave Philipps snags the big one for his superb series on returning war veterans.
Should he win, Dave will get a check for $10,000.
Dave, let me join Susan Edmondson in being among the first to congratulate you! Let me remind you that I spoke at your high school graduation, and that Susan gave you your first job in the newspaper biz. Inspiration plus employment – yes, that means we’d be happy to accept a glass or two of champagne in thanks! A magnum of Cristal would be perfectly acceptable…after all, Dom Perignon is so vulgar, don’t you think?
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